Communications Manager

 (via Indeed)
WaterWatch of Oregon
Portland, OR, United States
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
NGO/Civil Society
Experience Level: 
Not Specified


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Water is one of the major issues of our time. As WaterWatch’s Communications Manager, you will be part of the core team managing and implementing a unique mission critical to Oregon’s water future and the long term health of iconic rivers, Oregon’s lakes and aquifers, iconic species like salmon and waterfowl and communities and economies that depend on healthy waters across the state. WaterWatch’s mission is to protect and restore streamflows for the native fish, wildlife and people who depend on healthy rivers in Oregon. WaterWatch also removes obsolete dams and secures the balanced water policies Oregon needs in a time of recurring drought and a changing climate.

At WaterWatch you’ll lead the design and implementation of strategic communications and outreach efforts that engage the public and key audiences in understanding Oregon’s water challenges and supporting effective, equitable reforms and solutions that secure a water future for the state that includes healthy rivers, salmon and freshwater aquatic species and balanced policies, investments and responses to a changed climate in our state.

The Communications Manager will be housed in WaterWatch’s Portland office. You will report directly to WaterWatch’s Executive Director but also work closely with the Development Director and program staff to implement the organization’s communications strategies. Ideally, you are a highly motivated and mission driven individual with prior campaign experience in communications and/or public relations tied to the political process. You have a passion for conservation and Oregon’s rivers.


Working with program and development staff, you will:

  • Develop key messages on water that contribute to achieving WaterWatch’s policy reforms and projects and resonate with the public and decision-makers, creating a sense of urgency to do more to protect rivers and water in Oregon and address the effects of climate change on freshwater habitat.
  • Revise/create/implement WaterWatch’s Communications and Outreach Plan that includes strategy, tactics, content and measurable outcomes on water-related communications. Outreach component should engage partners, allies and others to build public demand for movement on water policy.
  • Manage WaterWatch’s website using WordPress.
  • Develop and implement an earned and paid media strategy, as well as manage and produce regular social media communications using our messages and frames.
  • Assist and train core staff on research-tested and other messaging, respond to or assist staff in responding to media inquiries to staff.
  • Work with staff to produce action alerts using Salsa, social media posts and website content.
  • Edit and manage the production of Instream, WaterWatch’s printed and electronic newsletter (three issues annually).
  • Work with the Development Director and Executive Director on development related communications as needed. Incorporate program messaging as appropriate into development communications.
  • Consider past polling and oversee new polling, as needed, to inform messaging.
  • Ensure all communications materials are culturally appropriate and reach diverse audiences by engaging diverse communities.
  • Work with staff and, where relevant, the board, to identify, cultivate and recruit diverse and effective messengers.
  • Tailor messages and materials to key audiences.
  • Manage list building efforts relevant to communications and outreach and track contacts as part of expanding support for WaterWatch and its mission. .
  • Perform limited graphic design functions using graphic design software.


We are looking for someone who is outgoing – a social entrepreneur who enjoys working with diverse people and organizations to get things done. The right candidate will be a team player and also a self-starter and good listener. Experience and understanding of the public policy process and political campaigns is helpful. Must have the desire to build the capacity and power behind the movement to secure water policy reforms and implement the WaterWatch mission. This position requires someone who will be active, engaged and invested in our mission and objectives.


  • Strong communications skills, both written and verbal. Powerful writer for public audiences in multiple formats.
  • Active interest in water, rivers, conservation and policy reform.
  • Experience developing and executing a comprehensive Communications and Outreach Plan and curating social media and website communications for an organization.
  • Track record of identifying and developing earned media opportunities and developing press relationships.
  • Experience developing compelling written and digital content.
  • Skilled at using technology and software to expand traditional media and communications. Experience with WordPress necessary to curate website. Computer proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, InDesign or comparable design software, presentation software and a willingness to develop additional skills as needed.
  • Experience with social media as an organizing tool.
  • Experience with development of culturally appropriate outreach materials for target audiences.
  • Respect for economic and cultural diversity and experience working with diverse groups of people.
  • Can change directions quickly and frequently.
  • Outstanding interpersonal skills with an ability to mobilize people toward positive ends. Successful candidate will need to develop strong working relationships with others both within and outside of WaterWatch. This is not a computer jockey desk job.
  • Strong time and task management skills; ability to manage multiple projects; works well under pressure and takes deadlines seriously.
  • Demonstrated self-motivation and initiative.
  • Ability to work cooperatively in a team environment.
  • Willingness to work occasional evenings and weekends.
  • Ability to work hard with the rest of the WaterWatch staff, but have fun doing it.


  • Minimum three years of professional experience in communications, journalism, public relations, marketing or related position.
  • Experience working in a non-profit setting with a mission-driven staff and board, preferably in conservation, ideally in water or river conservation.


Salary is commensurate with experience. Starting $49,000-$53,000 (depending on experience).

Excellent benefits include 20 days of Paid Time Off (PTO) in the first year of employment in addition to regular holidays. PTO increases on a set schedule. Comp time is provided for hours in excess of 40 per week. Other benefits include medical and dental insurance and an employer contribution to a 401K retirement plan (if the employee participates in the plan). WaterWatch also has a sabbatical program.


Founded in 1985, WaterWatch is Oregon’s leading advocate for streamflows and balanced water policies. Our mission is to protect and restore streamflows for the fish, wildlife and people who depend on healthy rivers in Oregon. WaterWatch also removes obsolete dams and secures the balanced water policies Oregon needs in to adapt to recurring drought and a changing climate. WaterWatch is the key reason Oregon is well ahead of other western states in streamflow protection and restoration.

WaterWatch offers the opportunity to perform challenging, important and rewarding work on one of the major issues of our time, an opportunity to represent iconic rivers and species and a great place to work. Turnover is very low for our staff.

WaterWatch is an equal opportunity employer. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ candidates encouraged to apply.